Friday, 24 January 2014

Curse: Conclusion

The solution to the mystery in Alan Grant's Smallville: Curse (New York, 2004) is so understated that the reader might miss it and certainly might not realize its full implications. First, it is learned that the man who had laid the curse had previously faked his psychic powers. Therefore, it is deduced that his curse cannot have worked. Non sequitur. It does not follow.

However, Clark deduces an alternative explanation for the apparent fulfillment of the curse. Thus, when, on p. 6, the omniscient narrator informs the reader that a past evil has stirred, this does not mean that any supernatural entity has been reactivated. Instead, because the minister who reads about the curse believes in the power of curses and is influenced by green meteor radiation, his mind has the power to cause events like a death and a fire in apparent fulfillment of the curse! This is a hard saying...

Happy ending: the minister, advised by Clark, buries his green "(un)lucky charm" with the victim of the fire at the church. The minister and his wife begin to rebuild their marriage and the author makes us feel for them as for the other characters, both regular and one-off. There are quite a few of the latter: the minister and his wife; Clark's temporary girlfriend; the wrestling performers; the drowned grave digger; even the bullies who get out of their depth almost literally when a flooding river interrupts their party.

We often see the cemetery where the Langs are buried but I think that this novel is the only source of information about the First Church of Smallville and its staff.

The novel, also understatedly, describes a turning point for Lex Luthor. After reading a revelatory book:

"His mind was sharper, one hundred per cent focused...
"A man who used this power for good could transform the Universe.
"A man who used it for evil could rule the Universe.
"Lex Luthor had a decision to make." (pp. 272-273)

We already know how he will choose and who will oppose him.

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